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The risk-benefit profile of COVID-19 vaccination in children remains uncertain. A self-controlled case-series study was conducted using linked data of 5.1 million children in England to compare risks of hospitalisation from vaccine safety outcomes after COVID-19 vaccination and infection. In 5-11-year-olds, we found no increased risks of adverse events 1-42 days following vaccination with BNT162b2, mRNA-1273 or ChAdOX1. In 12-17-year-olds, we estimated 3 (95%CI 0-5) and 5 (95%CI 3-6) additional cases of myocarditis per million following a first and second dose with BNT162b2, respectively. An additional 12 (95%CI 0-23) hospitalisations with epilepsy and 4 (95%CI 0-6) with demyelinating disease (in females only, mainly optic neuritis) were estimated per million following a second dose with BNT162b2. SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with increased risks of hospitalisation from seven outcomes including multisystem inflammatory syndrome and myocarditis, but these risks were largely absent in those vaccinated prior to infection. We report a favourable safety profile of COVID-19 vaccination in under-18s.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date





Humans, COVID-19, Child, Female, England, Male, BNT162 Vaccine, Child, Preschool, Adolescent, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 Vaccines, Hospitalization, Vaccination, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, Myocarditis, 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273, Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, Optic Neuritis, Epilepsy